Collaboration Explorer™

About Collaboration Explorer

collaboration explorer imageCollaboration Explorer™ is a tool developed by CCL Labs at the Center for Creative Leadership. This tool is designed to help people talk about and improve collaboration in their group or organization, and to learn about the principles, practices, and action logics supporting a collaborative leadership culture.

This card deck contains 63 culture cards and 45 action cards used to implement boundary-spanning leadership cultures and practices.

Purchase here.

Five color-coded decks are packaged as a set to facilitate groups of up to 50 people in a session. Contact us at info@ccl.org for more details.

An article with theory and background, and
an experiential design with instructions is here.

Collaboration Explorer is based in part on the work of Dr. Edward Marshall with colleagues at the Center for Creative Leadership.

Here is a sample of the cards:

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Introductory webinars for Explorers and Essentials

CCL Labs Webinar Tutorial Series Archive 2016-2017
Conversations for Creative Leadership

 

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The From Here to There (FHT) Model of Human Development

The From Here to There (FHT) Model frames development as a long-term journey:

FHT model

From Here to There Model applied to a life journey

Starting with:

“Where are you from?”
Origins, identities, communities

To:

“Where are you now (here)?”
Present state, presencing, observation, reflection, assessment

Toward:

“Where are you going (to there)?”
Toward a desired future state, aspirations, visions, strategies, goals, dreams, and possibilities.

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Leadership Culture: A Leadership Essential

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From Here to There: The Young African Leader Initiative (YALI)

Sam Ray has just returned from Kenya where he, Kathy Vaughan and Sam Kasera facilitated a final round of  Leadership and Self-Awareness workshops for USAID’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

From Here to There with YALI Leaders

From Here to There with YALI Leaders

Approximately 400 leaders from East and Central Africa have now been through this Center for Creative Leadership workshop (Addis Ababa office) in Nairobi.

The two-day workshop was built around the CCL F-H-T Framework. Every module mapped to a part of their life journey:
a) Where I have come from (FROM)
b) Where I find myself now (HERE)
c) Where my team and I are going (THERE)
d) How I got here (FROM to HERE)
e) How my team and I will get there (HERE to THERE).

Participants mapped their learning on the walls in real time, resulting in 400 unique ‘selfies’ of these young peoples’ leadership journeys. The YALI program has offered rigorous, large-scale testing of the From-Here-To There framework and never fails to generate perspective and insight for users.

The DAC Framework: Creating shared direction, alignment, and commitment

quoteHow would you know if leadership is happening in a team, in a workgroup, on a task force, or across the organization? Look for three important outcomes: direction, alignment and commitment (DAC).

Making Leadership Happen, Cindy McCauley

DAC2

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Dialogue by putting something in the middle

Dialogue is a reflective conversation engaging the multiple perspectives of a number of people to explore assumptions and create new meaning. Create dialogue by putting objects in the middle of amediated conversation. Meaning becomes projected onto the object. Images work very well. You can use photos, art, stories, Visual Explorer and other Explorer tools, mementos, videos, graphics, and so on.

When people get good at this, they don’t need a physical object—they can put a topic (a challenge, a problem, an idea) in the middle.

As the Star Model graphic illustrates, multiple layers of the topic are explored from many angles (multiple perspectives).

Try This (more…)

Vertical leadership development for a complex world

Horizontal development is about adding more knowledge, skills, and competencies. It’s about what you think.transformations

Vertical development is about the ability to think and act in more complex ways. It’s about how you think. It’s about maturity, and  growing “up” and increasing one’s “depth.”

Two excellent white papers on this topic by CCL’s Nick Petrie describe why vertical development is essential for effective leadership: Future Trends in Leadership Development, and, Vertical Leadership Development. The Transformations™ tool embodies this model in a practical, user-friendly way. (more…)

Collaboration Explorer in a group coaching session with UNDP Ethiopia

The tool enables one to speak frankly of where one feels one’s organization is at, and in a timely manner, it enables the conversation to shift to choosing actions, constructively, to be part of the solutions, not the problem.”

From: Nadia Waber
Subject: Collaboration Explorer

As promised, here are updates on how I used Collaboration Explorer for a group coaching session with UNDP Ethiopia. I found that Collaboration Explorer is a fantastic tool for group coaching! I’m attaching the agenda I used [below] as a guide.

What I noticed is that the tool enables one to speak frankly of where one feels one’s organization is at, and in a timely manner, it enables the conversation to shift to choosing actions, constructively, to be part of the solutions, not the problem. That definitely shifted the conversation!

Collaboration Explorer Session

Orange cards: Beliefs and behaviors around collaboration

  • Ask: Where is UNDP  as an organization at today? What is our current culture for collaboration? Each person pick 2 cards. Clarify as needed that this is about internal collaboration within the organization. 
  • Say: Make sure you go through all the cards carefully.
  • Ask:  Put the chosen cards in the middle of the group, mixing them around so nobody knows who picked which ones. Then decide together which 2 cards represents UNDP as it is now. Make sure you agree – do you really agree?

Next …

  • Ask: Where should UNDP as an organization be in two years? What is our desired future culture for collaboration? Each person pick 2 cards.
  • Say: Make sure you go through all the cards carefully.
  • Ask:  Put only the chosen cards in the middle of the group, mixing them around so nobody knows who picked which ones. Then decide together as a group which 2 cards represents UNDP as it must be in two years. Make sure you agree – do you really agree?
  • Discuss these Now and Future cards.

Green cards: Action cards for improved collaboration:

  • Ask: What actions will help us get to where we want to be in two years? Each person pick 2 cards.
  • Say: Make sure you go through all the cards carefully.
  • Ask: Put only the chosen cards in the middle of the group, mixing them around so nobody knows who picked which ones. Then decide together as a group which 2 cards represents the most important actions.  Make sure you agree – do you really agree?
  • Discuss these action cards.

Collaboration Explorer in Uganda with Leadership Beyond Boundaries (VIDEOS)

quoteI used the Collaboration Explorer card deck to help a new team  understand the team culture they want and how to get there. They created a team charter that they framed for their office. A young woman named Mercy said that she found the Collaboration Explorer to be one of the most powerful components of the workshop and asked how we might contextualize to the community level for non-literate women.

Here is another fascinating field report from Aaron White at Leadership Beyond Boundaries. Aaron is Deputy Regional Director at the new Center for Creative Leadership office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (More posts from Aaron here.) Aaron was able to test our new Collaboration Explorer for team development. More here on this new tool soon.

quoteI just returned from the northeastern corner of Uganda where I was working with an organization called Samaritan’s Purse to develop leadership and mentoring capacity for a maternal and child health program funded by the UK government.

Karamoja, Uganda

I used the Collaboration Explorer card deck to help a new team  understand the team culture they want and how to get there. They created a team charter that they framed for their office.

A young woman named Mercy said that she found the Collaboration Explorer to be one of the most powerful components of the workshop and asked how we might contextualize to the community level for non-literate women.

We’re working with the senior management team first and then will begin to do a training of trainers for village health promoters.   These health promoters will mentor “leader mothers” (those that exhibit positive maternal health behaviors and can train other mothers) in the community who in turn will reach 40,000 mothers in the Karamoja region of Uganda.  Pretty cool stuff, especially considering that developing leader mothers as mentors can actually save lives!

I’ve attached 2 short videos that will help you get a feel for the place.

Collaboration Explorer in action

Use of Collaboration Explorer and Visual Explorer in a Capacity Building Retreat in Nairobi

By Kathy Vaughan
Center for Creative Leadership

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quoteI used Collaboration Explorer and Visual Explorer as part of a retreat for a high performing team within a multilateral agency whose work is pro-poor. The team is comprised of core staff and several consultants. The team has operated in a highly dynamic environment over the past year with large scale organizational change and with lack of formal leadership of the new overarching entity within which they sit. Over the course of the year, I have worked with them on a capacity building initiative to enhance the collective capacity of the team in the areas of communication, conflict management and negotiation. The September retreat marked the end of the engagement. The design for the retreat included both Visual Explorer and Collaboration Explorer. (more…)

CCL Collaborates with the European Center for Electoral Support

LBBLogo               European Center for Electoral Support  3

Good news from Barcelona (below) from the European Center for Electoral Support (full story here, and here for the 2012 edition). The ECES has the strategy of supporting “dialogue and mediation for the consensual and inclusive management of political transition and the prevention and mitigation of electoral and political conflict.”

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The 2013 edition of the Dealing with Electoral Violence: Leadership and Conflict Management Skills for Electoral Stakeholders took place in Barcelon on 14-18 Octber 2013.

The overall objective of this 2013 edition of the LEAD Training has been to look into ways in which representatives of electoral stakeholders can improve their leadership skills and take on board means for preventing and/or mitigating the escalation of election-related violence and conflict throughout the respective electoral cycles.

The LEAD training is jointly organized with the Center for Creative Leadership: Leadership Beyond Boundaries and the Barcelona International Peace Resource Center. (more here.)

(They post these and other cool photos of the 2012 and 2013 events including use of Visual Explorer, Values Explorer, and Collaboration Explorer, and other CCL Leadership Essentials Tools.)

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Leadership Beyond Boundaries and mediated dialogue

Leadership Explorer tools, and especially Visual Explorer, have been key to our Leadership Beyond Boundaries initiative, where they work by putting something in the middle of a creative conversation (mediated dialogue):

quoteImagine our world if we worked to create better leadership. Might we have fewer wars, would there be less hunger and disease, would more people recognize their talents and realize their potential, would we solve problems more creatively and effectively, and would we embrace and leverage the diversity that defines humankind? >> read more about Leadership Beyond Boundaries

Exploring collaboration in Ethiopia

From: Harrison III, Steadman
Subject: RE: Collaboration Explorer

I’m using Collaboration Explorer tomorrow morning for Plan International.

plan

Founded 75 years ago, Plan is one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world. We work in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty.

First, we will use a simple tool to introduce those present – who they are, what they are proud of in the organization, what they hope for in the organization –  all to break the ice and create some psychological safety. The Director will speak to the need for a high degree of candor.  I’ll speak briefly about the desire to learn from them about what they see in the organization from their various perspectives.

I will then ask for what “collaboration” means to them. The key questions are: Are they on the same page about the meaning of collaboration? What would it look like if there was more Collaboration?

Using the Orange cards spread all around the edge of a central table I will ask for each person to pick 2 cards that they feel represent the Current State of Plan Int’l Ethiopia… Who are we?  I will ask them to choose and place them FACE DOWN in the middle of the table.  We will shuffle these choices and flip them over (all for confidentiality) and then ask team members to select any one of them and represent what they feel it means… After defining meaning of the cards I will then task the group with reducing the total cards to 5 that they feel are Most Important to describe the Current State of Plan… I will flip chart their choices under Current State and add the cards back into the mix.

Repeat this exact process with the Orange cards for Future State (What is Best – What is our Ideal?). Flip chart these as Future State.

Then, put the Blue cards out and have the group select 2 each that they feel are essential behaviors or actions to get us from Here to There / from Current State to Future State.  Prioritize and Flip Chart as a GROUP CHARTER – what do we commit to doing in the future.

Might then use Visual Explorer to ask the question – What will get in the way of our success???